Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bun Bo (Vietnamese Noodle Salad)

Bun bo is our family favorite from Vietnamese Restaurant. I like the taste of the sauce (nuoc cham) and also the crunchiness of the raw vegetables, especially bean sprout that comes with this salad. In the restaurant, the meat normally has the smoky flavor which I love so much. Unfortunately my homemade bun bo still lacked of that smoky flavor, but still I'm very satisfied with the result. I got this recipe from William Sonoma cook book.

375 gr rice noodles, soaked in warm water until soft
1 lb beef(chuck or flank), thinly sliced
3 stalks lemon grass, middle white part only, finely minced
5 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tbs fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
pepper to taste

for the salad:
4 cup lettuce (green leaf/romaine), chopped
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and julienned
2 cup beansprout, tails removed.
1 carrot, peeled, julienned
1/2 cup basil
1/2 cup mints

3 tbs vegetable oil
1 Spanish onion, thinly slice
1/2 cup toasted peanuts (unsalted), coarsely chopped
fried shallot

sauce (nuoc cham):
1 big clove garlic
1 red chili seeded
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
5 tbs fish sauce
3 tbs sugar
6 tbs water
2 tbs julienned carrot


1. Boil water in a big pot, put the noodle in and boil for about 2 minutes. Drain noodle and run under the cold water to arrest the cooking process. Drain noodle and put aside.

2. In a bowl, mix the sliced beef, lemon grass, 1/2 of the garlic, fish sauce, sugar & pepper, and leave them to marinate for about 1/2 - 1 hour.

3. In a big bowl, mix the lettuce, beansprouts, carrots, basil & mint. Divide the salad into 4 individual bowls. Put some noodle in each bowl, set aside.

4. Heat frying pan in a medium heat. Add 3 tbs vegetable oil. Toss is the remaining of the garlic, stir until garlic starts to change color. Toss onion to the frying pan and stir for another 30 seconds. Push onion garlic mixture to one side of the pan. Add the remaining vegetable oil, put in the beef into the frying pan, arrange them in one layer. Let the beef sear without stirring. After 1 minute, turn over the beef, and cook for another 1 minutes.

5. Immediately put the beef into the serving bowls.

5. Sprinkle chopped nuts and fried shallot over the beef

6. Serve the salad immediately with nuoc cham sauce.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Beef Teriyaki

This is a very simple dish to prepare, especially if you have access to Asian grocery nearby, where you can buy pre-sliced beef. Unfortunately I don't live that close to any Asian market, and my local butcher can't slice the beef thin enough for me. So, to make this dish, I have to slice the meat myself. To make to job easier, normally I put a piece of sirloin steak in the freezer for a couple hours, until it's half frozen. This way I can slice them thin enough without much struggle.


1 1/2 lb sirloin steak, thinly sliced

3 tbs shoyu
3 tbs mirin
1/2 tsp ginger powder (fresh ginger if you like it)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbs brown sugar
1/2 tbs sesame oil

oil for cooking (around 1-2 tbs)
toasted sesame seeds for sprinkle
sliced green onion (optional)for garnish


1. Mix all the ingredients for marinade in a big bowl.
2. Toss in sliced beef to the bowl, mix well, leave to marinade for at least 1/2 hours in the fridge.
3. Heat cooking oil in a pan, drain the beef, and cook until beef change color.
4. Pour the excess marinade to the pan, and cook until boiling, remove from heat.
5. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the beef & garnish with sliced green onion.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sweet Sour and Spicy Fish Fillet

This recipe was given by my friend Yusy in Qatar, who is a great cook. This recipe is slightly different from the sweet & sour fish I used to make. The addition of hot sauce really gives a nice kick to the fish. I modified the recipe a little bit to adjust with my taste. This recipe is really a keeper...thanks my friend for sharing this wonderful secret.

- 1 lb fish fillet (I like red snapper the best, cut into bite size
- 1 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cloves of garlic, grind to paste
- 2-3 tbs potato starch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp chicken powder
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- oil for frying the fish

for the sauce:
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 1 small tomato, quartered
- 3 tbs ketchup
- 1 tbs sugar
- 1 tbs hot sauce (adjust to your heat preference)
- salt to taste
- 100 ml water/chicken broth
- 1 tbs corn starch + 100 ml water, mixed
- 1 tbs cooking oil
- 1 tbs vinegar (optional)
- pinch of nutmeg

1. Put fish in a big bowl, mixed with garlic & lemon juice, and leave it for about 1/2 hour. Drain the fish.
2. Mix potato starch with salt, garlic powder, chicken powder, and pepper.
3. Pour beaten egg over fish fillet.
3. Coat fish fillet with potato starch evenly.
4. Heat oil into medium heat, fry fish in batches until golden brown. Drain and put aside.
5. For the sauce:
- Heat oil in a pot, toss in slice onion and garlic, stir for about a minute.
- Put in ketchup, tomatoes, salt, sugar, carrot, vinegar (if using), water, nutmeg and hot sauce.
- Cook over low heat until tomatoes become soft.
- Add the mixture of corn starch & water, stir.
- Let the sauce boil for another minute, serve over fish

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Gado-Gado Pengantin (Indonesian Wedding Salad)

Gado-gado (mixed vegetables salad with peanut sauce dressing) always make a good, refreshing, not to mention easy, summer meal. This wedding salad, though look almost alike like regular gado-gado, it tastes slightly different. As regular gado-gado, this one use peanut based dressing too. The different is this one contains dried shrimp and vinegar that gives a nice tangy taste to the sauce.
I have no idea as how this salad is called wedding salad, probably because it's often served at the wedding.


200 gr potato, boiled
200 gr cabbage
200 gr cucumber
200 gr green leaf lettuce
100 gr bean sprout, tails removed
3 hard boiled eggs
2 pcs firm tofu, deep fried
1 fried shallot
emping (melinjo crackers)

1 cup peanut butter (I use chunky pb)
50 gr dried shrimp, soaked in boiling water for about 15 minutes, drained
1 tbs sambal oelek
1 tsp salt
2 tbs sugar
300 ml water
1-2 tbs vinegar
3 tbs sweet soy sauce

1. Slice boiled potatoes, cabbage, cucumber and deep fried tofu. thorn lettuce leaf.
Scald beansprout for about 10 seconds in boiling water, drain immediately

2. for the sauce:
With medium head, dry fry dried shrimp in a small wok, stir often, for about 10 minutes. Remove wok from the heat, cool the dried shrimp and put it in blender and process until it resembles fine meals.

3. Mix dried shrimp with peanut butter, sambal oelek, salt, sugar, water, vinegar and sweet soy sauce.

3. Arrange potatoes, cabbage, cucumber, lettuce, bean sprout, tofu and boiled eggs on a plate. Pour over the peanut sauce. Sprinkle with fried shallot and emping.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lobster Boil

New England shoreline is famous for its lobsters. As the weather warms up, lobsters are more abundance and the price became very reasonable too. Last month we had a chance to spend spring break in Maine and of course to feast on lobsters. We went to Portland fish market to get some fresh lobsters. The big lobster was $9.99/lb and the smaller one (1-1 1/4lb) was $7.99/lb. When I lived in the South, lobster never cost less than $11.99/lb.

Imagine my surprise when my local grocery had a sale on lobsters for $4.99/lb on memorial day weekend. Actually in my town, every Friday there is a seafood truck that sells fresh lobster and fish directly from Maine, but I have yet to check it.

Every spring I always cook some low country boil, but this year I just prepare something simpler. No sausages, crabs or potatoes, just 3 main ingredients, lobsters, shrimps and corn boiled down with old bay seasonings and we had a wonderful evening with those shellfish. Next time probably I'll cook Chinese style lobster.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Karaage - Japanese style Fried Chicken

Karaage is our all-time favorite food, very easy to prepare and tasty to the palate. I always use chicken thigh for this dish, because the result is a lot juicier than chicken breast. To save time I use ginger powder instead of ginger juice.

1 1/2 lb skinless boneless chicken thigh, cut into bite size
3 tbs low sodium soy sauce (I use Kikkoman)
2 tbs sake
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 cup potato starch (approx.)
cooking oil for frying


1. Put chicken pieces in the big bowl.
2. Mix together soy sauce, sake & ginger powder and pour over chicken pieces.
3. Let chicken pieces to marinade for about an hour.
4. Drain the chicken, toss in potato starch to coat. Add more starch if needed.
5. Heat deep fryer to 330F.
6. Fry chicken in small batch until golden brown. Serve with ketchup or spicy mayo.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Jap Chae (Korean Noodle)

I accidentally stumbled on this recipe when I was blog walking to this site. This site has so many fabulous Korean recipes that I cannot wait to try, as I always love Korean Food.

The original recipe calls for thinly sliced beef, but I'm not that fond of beef in the noodle, so I just double the amount of the fish cake. I was not that sure what kind of the fish cake used in the original recipe, so I used Korean style fish cake that comes in the thin sheet, which normally rolled and wrapped in the plastic. The cooking process required you to cook each ingredient separately, which I think the best way to prevent some ingredients to be overcooked when they are cooked together.

The following is the recipe from this site that I slightly modified.


4-5 oz tang myun- soak in hot water for 30min, drain, and cut briefly with scissors
1 medium carrot- julienned
1/2 medium onion- julienned
2 stalks of green onions - diagonally sliced
1/2 bag of spinach leaves
6 dehydrated shiitake mushrooms- soak for 2hr, sliced
5 button mushrooms- sliced
2 sheets of Korean style fish cake
tang myun marinade
1/6 cup light soy sauce
4 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp water
3 tbsp sesame oil
3 cloves garlic- finely minced
3 tbsp mirin
sesame seeds
fresh ground pepper
vegetable oil


-Set pan on medium high heat. Coat pan lightly with oil. Toss in sliced fish cake and green onions, fry until they are cooked. Remove from pan and put into a large bowl.

-Reset pan on medium high heat. Add more oil if necessary. Cook button and shiitake mushrooms. Remove from pan and set aside in the same bowl as the cooked fishcake.

-Repeat and cook carrots and onions. Toss thoroughly until cooked, about 3-4min. Remove from pan and set aside in the same bowl.

-Repeat and cook spinach. Spinach will cook quickly, about 2-3min. Remove from pan and set aside in the same bowl.

-Reset pan onto medium high heat. Lightly coat pan with oil. Add tang myun to pan. Add tang myun marinade. Toss and mix thoroughly. Cover for 2min. Uncover, toss. Taste. When liquid has fully absorbed into tang myun, remove from pan and into the same bowl.

-Generously add fresh ground pepper, toss mixture thoroughly. Finish with sesame seeds.